Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rich Says

Rich loves Suede.
Rich says "Jan's live blogging rocks it"

Live Blogging-PR 7

Wow, I can't believe Kenley won. I love her as a designer but Leanne's rocked more as did Terri's.
And I can't believe that matronly and "I am not interested to see any more' is safe.
And I agree with wasn't THAT bad.

From next week's challenge:
"This has nothing to do with what I am familiar with" -Daniel.
"She's from the Republic of Cocktail Land?" MK

Signing off,
Jan + Tonto

Live Blogging-PR 6

I DO think "holla at cha boy" should be Tim's new tag line. "Make it work was so last season." It's fashion people and fashion doesn't just apply to clothing, holla at cha boy!

Did you know that Heidi Klum's trainer is David Kirsch?

Keith: Not enough structure. I knew the
Michael Kors' comment, "toilet paper in a wind storm" was about Keith's dress.
Blayne: hideous.
Mr. Detroit: solid but not earth shattering
Emily: asymmetrical design- the problem is the placement of the ruffle
"When in doubt, keep it simple." MK
NG: No comment." MK: [that is] "the worst review"

Leanne: Great! She edited- always a smart move. "She was almost gone last week b/c she didn't edit." She heard it and implemented it. Good. Smart. Her photo: a planter grate around a tree.

Jennifer: matron! I mean MATRON. 'I don't get the surprise that surrealism brings' MK- Don't underestimate people's knowledge. Know what you are talking about before opening mouth.
HK: I'm not interested to see more. Brutal. Each project matters. Are people going to continue paying attention or are they bored? Or not engaged. Sometimes a project isn't just a project......the world is forming opinions.

Jerrell: Nice pose by the model coming out- good design.
Kelli: nice based on her image
Daniel: middle of the road
Kenley- Took a risk; I like it. Wouldn't wear it. Most telling comment, 'someone who didn't live through the 80's would love this."
Suede: ordinary
Stella: I thought it had to be dress! I can't believe she is safe on this challenge.
Terri: Okay. backless portion is the best.
I don't think the silhouette is strong. The judges loved it way more than I do. Great judge feedback. HK compliment: "You think outside the box."

Live Blogging-PR 5

In progress crit with Tim.....
Uh oh, I see furrowed brow on Tim!
Miss Portland's skirt is AMAZING! And her image was a cast iron grate. Tim loves it and his advice is sound: "Don't over work it".

Love: "Holla at cha boy" Tim says as he leaves the design room.
"Move quickly and with purpose." [Suede] Always good advice.
I love the way Daniel dresses- love his red striped tie.
"Suede's okay,how bout you?"

Kieth has to roll with a model change at the last minute. Have to roll with it.
"Is anyone listening to me?" Tim yells.....makes me laugh, I feel like I say things like this all the time.

Live Blogging-PR 4

1/2 hour to choose one image to base your design on.
$100 for materials. First time they can choose their own fabric.
40's and 50's style in her work is her aesthetic- her look as well as what she makes. Same with Stella and the leather and rock and roll.
Terri and choosing fabric- good karma! Her hand touches fabric [the first?] and it is perfect- not trouncing around, flailing.
They have until 1am to make their designs, one long day.
If one more designer says, "I'm gonna show the judges who I am as a designer I am going to hurl. [Duh!]
The guy from Detroit says that one of the designers' dress looks like Ft. Lauderdale lawn furniture-y [Kennely?]- that sounds kinda cool.
I don't mean to be petty but, Miss Portland, comb your hair! She is so undesigner looking. Successful designers exude their style.
Stella seeing the horse's blinder.
Blayne is getting a little edgy.

"Suede is here to rock it. Sued has decided on a shirt dress."

Live Blogging-PR 3

Who's surprised Stella a doesn't know how to open the camera?
The designer standing in Greenwich Village holding the camera and just shooting- interesting approach.
Terri's eye with the graffiti. Very much her eye. Good.
Most understated statement: "Being gay in Salt Lake City was difficult."
It is human nature to think only about ourselves. [complaints about someone walking in front of them while shooting NYC]

Live Blogging-PR 2

Stella: 'going to Tim's house for dinner'. Ha!
I love Blayne Walsh: "I want to get all dolled up and go dancing." [Not be on this bus in the rain with a rain poncho on.]
Challenge: a night out on the town inspired by NYC at night.
They are thinking about their comfort level at the moment.
Hey! It is one of my Creative Caffeine assignments-
Change your perspective: change what you see.
Daniel is cracker! Great eye.

Live Blogging-PR

In talking about our schedules today my husband said to me, "Will you be live blogging during Project Runway tonight?" What a great idea I thought so I am going to try it tonight with Tonto, my small laptop.

"Suede loves Tia, he could never change." Great opener!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rape Agression Defense Course

As I start the wheels churning again for the 2008-2009 academic year, I want to remind you that TU offers a Rape Aggression Defense Course. I recommend all young women take this course. It is a good idea to take this course once a year to keep the information fresh in your brains.
Be Safe.
Be Proactive

Thursday, July 24, 2008

University of Washington BFA Thesis Postcard

This is the postcard from the University of Washington in Seattle- the BFA Thesis Exhibition.
I think students will be interested in what thei peers across the country are doing in terms of studio work.

Maria Phillips, Andy Cooperman and Lori Talcott are currently keeping that porgram afloat- all powerhouses in our field. Google them won't be sorry.

Be in the know.

Project Runway, Challenge 2

Project Runway, Challenge 2
The Challenge: designing a cocktail dress for their models, the models are the client, the models shopped for the material, and the material is eco-fabric.
Guest Judge: Natalie Portman, actor, Environmental activist who recently started a vegan line of shoes.

Words of Wisdom
Michael Kors, “Judgment is part of the design process,” said about Leann’s dress that was 5 dresses in one. She had too many ideas and she didn’t edit them. She didn’t choose between the various ideas she had, she executed all of them on one garment and its mission, the design objectives for the dress were not clear to the viewer.

Nina Garcia, ‘You have to have a personality and design from that place’ said about Kenely Collins.

Suede had some good observations on this challenge although his persistent use of the third person is annoying. “There is a reason they are having us design for our models. They want us to listen.”

Stella, “For people to even be looking at what other people are doing, while there working is nonsense b/c it distracts you and puts you on another road of thought and process. I think everyone should just keep their eyes on their own design.” When Korto is concerned with whether Wesley was copying her design approach.

Each time the designers present a design they have to also create the context within which the work is seen. This is some thing I wish other designers would do more. In this case the designers have to also create a look for the models- hair style, make-up style, etc. Correlations may be the aesthetic of Annie’s website and Megan’s booth.

Notice the sketches that the designers are working from and referring back to.

Stella: “This is not what I do,” meaning the cocktail dress and the fabrics that her client chose. In the end she did well. Her style was in the dress but it wasn’t ALL Stella. Artistic growth?

I liked Korto’s design for this challenge: it was sculptural. While I cannot disagree with Michael that a full figured woman would not want fins coming of her backside, on a thin woman, I think this design would look great. I’d wear it!

I liked Terri Stevens’ blue dress. Very classy, and visually interesting. Very wearable. Loved the neckline. Like Daniel Feld’s black dress- nice lines/form.

I loved Kenely Collins’ dress, especially that neckline….is it called a neckline when it really looks like a neckpiece?

Suede Wins
I suspected Suede would win. Because his dress functioned well- it fit the model well, it wasn’t too short, it was well-made. And on top of this, it was highly creative. This is the wining combo that the judges are basing their decisions on. The Kenely Collins, her dress was beautiful, also well made, good design, etc., but Suede’s was all of that AND very creative. This is what will set him apart as a designer in the real world. The judges are rewarding this.

For all designs produced in Challenge 2 go to Rate the Runway.

Austin Scarlet- Corn Husk Dress

Project Runway, Season 5- Just Started

Season 5 of Project Runway started last week. I am a big fan of PR so I am coming out of my summer blogging hiatus to blog about Project Runway. Even though PR is produced, I think it is a good case study of the design process. There are a lot of things students/designers can pick up and use in their own creative processes and experiences. Tune In.

One of the most interesting aspects for me is the designers. The individual place that each designer starts from, the psychological territory that they either create for themselves or find themselves in and how this plays out in each challenge. The attitudes: toward the challenges, the other designers, feedback, etc. The creativity. The distractions. How the designers focus, or not. The individual creative challenges- what is hard for one designer isn’t for another designer, etc. And, of course, watching the creative process unfold….whichever parts we are actually seeing. How the designers present their designs.

The First Challenge
The first challenge came with a 4am wake up call. Successful designers do what it takes to succeed. I can imagine people saying, “sorry, but I am not getting up at 4am.” People put limits on themselves and I wonder how aware we are of the limits we set. A colleague of mine in Oregon would say, "Luck comes to everyone, some people don't answer the door." The designers go to Gristedes, a grocery store, the source of their materials for the first challenge. They have $75 to spend and a half an hour to shop. Austin Scarlet, the winner of season one, is the guest judge for this challenge because he was also the winner of this exact challenge in season one with his corn husk dress. [get image] To this group of designers he says, “Innovation was the key to my success and so it will be with you.”


I can’t say it too many times. Study your field. Know what has been done. And why. Hone your creativity and creative process. And be innovative. Know your field.

Curious about how critics and judges come to be critics and judges? They succeed in the trench.

Midnight on day one is the deadline. Notice the time frames within which the designers have to make what they make.

The Players + Initial Observations

Suede Well, he actually uttered the word “wackadoodle”. No, I think he said it. Out loud. Then there is the immediate habit of talking in the third person. But he is first on my list of players. He stands out. Will this be a good thing or not? Standing in front of Gristedes he said, “I never thought about what I would do if I had that challenge in season 1” My immediate thought was, “Why not?” Don’t be lazy creatively. When you are watching things like PR- solve the problem for yourself. Assign the problem to yourself. However that assignment might fit in to your discipline. When you are in the world and you encounter something that doesn’t work or make sense, rework the problem…… As my thirteen year old niece is taught in school, when you succeed it is because of perspiration [serious effort], when you fail it is because of lack of preparation. [Hooray, some public schools are doing a good job.]

Love Daniel Feld from Brooklyn. Unique. An original. Great job on the first challenge- the sweetheart dress made of plastic cups. Tim’s first feedback when the dress was barely underway,
You have a ‘wow’ factor going on.” He thanked Tim for the feedback- a good practice even if you don’t like what you are hearing; someone is taking the time to look and think about what you are doing….thank them for that. He cut and ironed the cups to get them to be more flexible and mold t the body. He hot glued them on top of muslin cloth. Anther designer made a comment about going into Gristedes and him running to the plastic cups……it was said with a spirit of respect… was a unique perspective to think of working with plastic cups for a dress.

Wesley Naut. Don’t know what I think of him. Liked what he did with the yellow flyswatters- didn’t see enough of it. Unique perspective though.

Keith Byrce. [26, boutique owner, self-taught designer, self described “natural talent”]
In response to Tim’s observation that so many designers chose tablecloths to work from said, “I didn’t realize so many people would go after the same thing.” I thought this showed a lack of experience on his part….there are many more followers in this world than leaders. Unique, original, sound designers think and do differently.

Terri Stevens. Freelance designer describes her work as a Aeromsith and Lauren Hill meet Michael Jackson. Maybe interesting. Crocheted mop heads for this challenge- interesting. Although there is a history of crocheted clothing at least she didn’t use tablecloths.

Jerry Tam. He had an idea right away and acted accordingly: April showers bring May flowers- used shower curtain. Smart. Good thinking and quick. He worried too much about what he “thought” other designers were doing. Ultimately his design didn’t hold up to the competition but it was a unique idea. He was the first to be eliminated.

Jerell Scott. Verdict is out right now. What strikes me most: he seems to be a little petty. [remember, the show is produced!]

Joe Faris from Detroit. Nice eye and style. Talented. Mature. Calm. Focused.

Jennifer Deitrich. Nice style. She made the top of her dress- bustier portion- out of plastic kids balls. Interesting. Has staying power.

Kenely Collins. Talented. Used super balls. Nice collar.

Leann Marshall, from Portland, Oregon. When she realized her design was too similar to others she glued candy on the dress making it decorative and adding a pink tone. Smart. Assessed part way through, came up with new ideas and acted. No vacuum here.

Emily Brandle made a dress from paper towels. I thought her late decision to blot her lipstick on small pieces of the paper towel for decorative effect was interesting and successful.

Korto Momolu reminds me of Jennifer Hudson in a few ways. Sleeping Tiger. I liked that when shopping she went to the produce section- risky. She knew the kale would be her wow factor she just didn’t know how. When time walked around checking on the designers he said, “That’s where you need the giant ‘oh my god I can’t believe she did that with those things’.” [A little foreshadowing is okay.]

Stella Zotis. I have to like Stella because she is not arrogant or self righteous. She is just who she is. She chose garbage bags to work with. Okay, maybe. But always choose the name brand garbage bags……everyone knows they have more to them. I think Stella made a classic design mistake she just started something hoping to figure it out. The risk….what if you don’t?

Blayne Walsh, our tanorexic. My prediction: Blayne's charm will carry him a fair way through this season. The place that he starts from is very interesting. His demeanor. He is likable and unique; honest; his originality and likability will get him a fair way into the competition. If he has some serious talent…..Heidi described his dress as “Playboy bunny turned grunge.” That is interesting.
Blayne said to the judges, “I didn’t want to bore you.” Michael Kors laughed and said, “You didn’t do that!”

Kelli Martin, describes herself as ‘if Vivienne Westwood and Betsy Johnson had a baby’. About choosing materials for this challenge she says, “I didn’t want to get a table cloth or anything that resembled fabric. That was too easy.” Smart. She did however think about the materials that the objects she chose were made out of and how she might manipulate these. The first thing she did was tested her mark-making on the bags.
Kelli Martin did a great job on this challenge. She used found objects as raw material rather than what they were. She identified that vacuum cleaner bags were essentially paper and thought about the ways in which she could treat ‘paper’. The first thing she did was tested her mark-making on the bags. The metal spiral binding of a notebook turned into the hook and eye mechanism running down the back of the dress. And the gold thumbtacks Nina Garcia paid her an incredible compliment when she said, "I like the way you think". Nina also said, “She found a possibility in everything,” another high compliment. It was easy to se that Kelli would win this challenge. Her work stood out and above all of the other designers. Study her approach. Don’t mimic her work. Get inside her head.

Tim’s Words of Wisdom
When Tim realized that so many designers had chosen tablecloths he said, “I think the judges are going to say, ‘you guys are slackers’. The reason we took you to Gristedes was to use untraditional and unexpected materials.” Always read the design problem accurately and deeply enough. There is not risk with the tablecloth….no limbs.
Tim goes on to say, “The materials need to go beyond what they are.” This is the golden rule for working with found objects. What I say is: treat the found object as raw material as you would any other material. A plank of wood gets shaped, colored, constructed, etc. When you plop a found object on a made object it stands out.

On The Runway

About Daniel Feld Michael Kors said, “Bravado and confidence- you either have it or you don’t.”
About Daniel Feld’s dress, “The use of a material in an unexpected way,” said Michael Kors. Austin and Heidi respectively about Stella’s dress, “It doesn’t make me curious” and “You did something because you had to do something” i.e., there was not inspiration, passion, engagement.

So I will leave you with this. I enjoyed the Diane von Furstenberg American Express commercial. She starts with her eye, with looking, with photographing. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew the woman I wanted to be.” Who are your heros? What kind of designer do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? Think about it. Tune In.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gone Summerin'

Happy Summer!

Happy Summer!
This spring I took several trips to NYC. Here's what is on my Palm pilot to blog about here:
ICFF: Tons of great ideas, products, materials, attittudes; Truly an international show- work from the Danes, the Czech Republic, Italy [of course], Spain, and many more countries.
The Murakami show at the Brooklyn Museum: This work is amazing. Really.
The Whitney Biennial: have a seat, we'll talk.
MOSS rocked. The place to be. What has traditionally been known as "the decorative arts" has definitely morphed into new and exciting territory. People like stuff. Especially cool, well designed stuff.
SoHo, SoHo, SoHo: There are 4 stacks of stuff from NYC on my living room floor.
AND Design and The Elastic Mind at MOMA: Where do I start? Buy the catalog if you missed the show.

But, alas, it is now mid-July and I must get some of my own work done.

I promised some Summer Reading suggestions......
The Long Tail,
Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine
The Uncommon Life of Objects, Akiko Busch, writer for Metropolis
The Experience Economy, James Gilmore
Victor Margolin- anything he wrote on design
Understanding Design, now at Cook Library
Massive Change, Bruce Mau
Cradle to Cradle, William McDounogh and _________Brungart
And the regular favorite mags.....International Design, Metropolis, Wired, FastCompany......

Happy Summer!
Eat Fresh Tomatoes,